Amol Rajan: You have power in your hands, so why not use it?

FreeViewfrom the editors at i

Share
Related Topics

Everybody knows that party politics as we know it in Britain is collapsing.
In 1951, the Conservative Party had over 2,850,000 members; today it is not even
a tenth of that. Labour membership is shrinking fast too. For much of the 20th
century, over 80 per cent of those eligible to vote did so; on current trends,
that number could fall to below a shocking 30 per cent by the end of this
decade.

Trust in our elected representatives has never been lower, according to a YouGov survey carried out this year. The reasons are many and varied. Clearly the expenses scandal tarnished the reputation of all the political class, not just those who made headlines. The relentless cynicism of our media – in particular tabloid newspapers – means that entry into the world of politics comes with an instant besmirching in the public domain.

Partly, too, it is the feeling that a vote doesn't count, or a protest isn't heard. Our ridiculous and anachronistic electoral system means that two-thirds of voters are all but ignored during General Elections. Meanwhile, a million people marched against the Iraq War, and still our leaders bombed that country on a false prospectus.

Then there is the fact that many governments are simply no good at fulfilling promises, saying one thing to get elected and doing another in office – or simply so incompetent and stuffed with dullards that it becomes a national embarrassment.

All these are reasons to be dismayed by party politics. Some have more merit than others. Can you identify with any of them? Are you put off voting for one or all the reasons outlined above?

Well, don't be. Grow up and get out and vote. Today is election day across vast swathes of the country, and those people who don't vote bring shame on their fellow citizens. It takes a special kind of entitlement to think that the generations of women and men who died to preserve democracy on these isles should have died for nothing. They didn't make those sacrifices because of their vanity; rather, they believed in ideals that will endure so long as good people are alive.

The ballot box is one of the most precious and sacred institutions that mankind has yet come up with. That we have a ritual in which the ruled tell their rulers what they can or can't do is one of the remaining reasons to be proud of being British. Moan all you like about the system; but you owe it to history, to yourself, and to the rest of us to vote today.

twitter.com/amolrajan

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executive - OTE £37,000

£16000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The ideal candidate will want t...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron has reiterated his pre-election promise to radically improve the NHS  

How can we save the NHS? Rediscover the stiff upper lip

Jeremy Laurance
 

Thanks to Harriet Harman, Labour is holding its own against the Tory legislative assault

Isabel Hardman
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada